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American Women: Resources from the Manuscript Collections

Editors, Publishers, & Others

Arnold Genthe, photographer. Lane, Gertrude, Miss, portrait photograph. Jan. 1918. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Collections of editors, literary critics, publishers, and male journalists are equally valuable sources for researching women writers ranging from Emily Dickinson and Charlotte Perkins Gilman to Anaïs Nin and Susan Sontag. Often these collections also contain letters and other documents of notable women reformers, activists, and other news makers.

From 1912 until her death in 1941, Gertrude Battles Lane (1874-1941) edited the Woman's Home Companion, one of the most popular ladies' magazines of its time, with an estimated circulation of three million in 1938. Her collection consists almost entirely of correspondence (220 items; 1915-35), including letters from Jane Addams, Carrie Chapman Catt, Edna Ferber, and Ida M. Tarbell.

Teacher, feminist, and Democratic Party leader Marion Glass Banister (d. 1951) was editor and publisher of the Washingtonian magazine from 1929 to 1933 before becoming assistant treasurer of the United States. Her small collection (1,500 items; 1933-51) contains correspondence as well as some items relating to the Democratic National Committee.

Other promising collections of editors and publishers include the papers of: Horace and Anne Montgomerie Traubel (75,250 items; 1824-1979; bulk 1883-1947); Joseph Warren Beach (8,200 items; 1891-1955); Benjamin Holt Ticknor (3,000 items; 1595-1935; bulk 1850-1920); Benjamin Huebsch (10,500 items; 1893-1964); Ken McCormick (60,000 items; 1882-1992; bulk 1910-92); and Huntington Cairns (58,450 items; 1780-1984; bulk 1925-84).

The papers of lawyer and editor Louis Freeland Post (600 items; 1864-1939; bulk 1900-1922) contain articles, poems, and letters of Post's second wife, Alice Thacher Post (1853-1947), who established and edited the Chicago Public with him. Similarly, Mary Bainbridge Hayden's journalism career, especially her coverage of Herbert Hoover's campaign of 1928, is documented in the papers of a male relative, in her case, her father—naval officer Edward Everett Hayden (11,000 items; 1817-1932).

As mentioned elsewhere about Frederick Douglass (see Antislavery Movement), the collections of male journalists and newspaper publishers often contain subject files, correspondence, and family papers relevant to women's history. For example, the papers of Civil War correspondent Sylvanus Cadwallader (250 items; 1818-1904) contain several items relating to his wife, the suffragist and journalist Mary Isabella Cadwallader.

Although not herself a journalist, Margaret Bayard Smith (1778-1844) was married to one—Samuel Harrison Smith, editor of the National Intelligencer. By virtue of her husband's career and her own intellect and social skills, Smith enjoyed the reputation of being one of Washington's most prominent women and one of the keenest observers of the city's early political and social life, a talent reflected in her papers (3,600 items; 1789-1874; bulk 1796-1840).

A similar twentieth-century example might be the papers of Gilbert A. Harrison (4,200 items; 1902-78; bulk 1960-75), editor and publisher of the New Republic and president of Liveright Publishing Company. Not only do his papers contain correspondence and subject files for prominent women such as Anita McCormick Baline, Meg Greenfield, Lillian Hellman, Mary McGrory, and Gertrude Stein, but they also include the papers of his wife, Nancy Blaine Harrison, relating to her activities in North Carolina in the 1940s as an organizer for the Textile Workers Union of America.

Manuscript Resources Referenced

The following collection titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content, including finding aids for the collections, are included when available.